These two women never would have imagined their moms would become sleepwear designers
By Laura Musall, CoolRevolution co-creator
Recently, my business partner Mindy Ford and I had a text exchange that went a little bit like this:
“Sammi just came in and asked me what in the heck I was wearing. I’m wearing our new long-sleeved T-shirt. The one we thought was cute.”
The T-shirt was a sample our seamstress and pattern maker Catherine Frisch of Mercurious Designs made for us to test the fit of a long-sleeved T-shirt we want to add to our sleepwear collection. Always looking to conserve fabric, we didn’t have enough gray bamboo fabric to make the entire shirt, so we used scraps of black for the sleeves. We actually thought the two-toned T-shirt looked cute.
Sammi Ford, 23, an elementary school teacher, with impeccable taste, did not agree.
“She’s a millennial,” I replied. “What does she know about fashion for 50-somethings?”
This may have been what I said, but this all made me question whether this black-sleeved, gray body shirt was weird looking.
I showed the shirt to my daughter, Shelby Musall. She’s a 30-year-old accountant, who has advised me on my clothing choices since she was still in single digits.
“What do you think of this?” I held it up, displaying it like an 8-year-old showing her mom her latest art project.
“It’s in our bamboo fabric,” I encouraged, as if this would make the shirt look better.
“What’s it supposed to be?” she finally responded.
Mindy and I haven’t worn those long-sleeved T-shirts since.
Our daughters are our mini-mes. They are our fashion advisors. They are our confidants. They are our best friends. They make us proud. They make us crazy.
Mothers and daughters have a special bond that’s difficult to put into words. As Mother’s Day approaches, we are thinking of the influence our daughters have had on our lives. Yes, we are moms of sons, too, but anyone with a daughter likely understands how the bond is just different.
Shelby was launching her accounting career and Sammi was in college when we hatched the idea of PJs for menopause. We have not been shy about talking to them about the trials and tribulations of getting older. They’ve seen us sweat – literally – and they’ve pitched in to help us start and now grow CoolRevolution.
“I thought you were nuts,” Shelby said, referring to the day I told her about the idea. “I didn’t understand why you needed another job.”
Afterall, I am a full-time realtor, and I also do freelance writing, because I like to stay busy, and I like a challenge. She gets her analytical traits from her dad, her boisterous laugh and brutal bluntness from me.
Shelby’s first dose of reality about menopause (and our seriousness about starting a pajama company) came in spring 2018, when Mindy and I hosted an informal focus group of women 40-plus and asked them to talk to us about challenges with sleep. Shelby was our on-site note taker. She sat nearby in near horror as women talked about having to get up in the middle of night to change their sweat-soaked PJs, among lots of other things.
She was there when we hosted our first fitting party asking women to try on PJs. She agreed to try them on, too, and I could see in her face she was impressed with how great they are. Shelby now wears a CoolRevolution sleep T-shirt to work at least three times a week and gets plenty of compliments.
You’re also likely to find Sammi wearing CoolRevolution tank tops. She will admit she thought these PJs were going to be for old ladies. But then we needed someone to wear a mauve tank top for a photo – this was back in the day when we didn’t have funds for a professional photographer - she slipped on the mauve tank top, and she couldn’t hide her shock. She loved how soft the fabric is, and she couldn’t believe how cute this sleep tank top looked with her jean shorts and some jewelry. We’ve not seen that tank top since.
She’s taken photos for us, she’s learned to process orders, do inventory, and even do some design work creating an illustration after nine months in business showing how women from nearly every state in the U.S. were wearing CoolRevolution PJs.
“That was an eye-opener,” Sammi said. “I knew people were buying PJs, because I’ve helped package them, but I had no idea it was people from so far away. I mean, I shouldn’t have been surprised, Mom has always been successful and uber organized.”
Mindy has worked in operations for years.
But in 2018, when Mindy told her about starting a PJ company for women in perimenpause and menopause, Sammi didn’t think she was serious.
“I thought it was a joke at first, something you and my mom made up at one of your girls’ nights,” Sammi said.
We’ve tried to lead by example. We hope our daughters learn lessons from us about the importance of following your passions, taking risks and getting out of your comfort zone.
If they do that for us, we’ll try our best to learn some fashion sense from them.